Image Management in Sports

I have been involved in coaching individuals and companies on overcoming the image related issues by reinventing themselves to project an authentic and appropriate image. Many individuals have been professionals, students, housewives, sports persons and entrepreneurs. (

I also happen to be on the board of a Sports management company which specializes in sports coaching, grooming sportsmen, celebrity management, organizing large scale inter - corporate sports tournaments and events, and building state-of-the-art sporting infrastructure in the country. (

“I strongly feel that Image Coaching has many applications in the field of Sports and Celebrity Management; especially in grooming accomplished sports personalities as well as budding sportsmen, managing their Public Image and helping them in getting the right opportunities that will help them in accomplishing their potential.”

Image Coaching is essential at every stage in your sporting career.

  • Sports today have become extremely competitive. The competition for the sportspersons starts at an early age where they have to get selected in the team or to play a tournament. From that point onwards, they have to fight for attention from the coaches to get the best possible training and opportunities to play.
  • When they reach the competitive levels in their career, they have to manage their Public Relations, media, professional sports agencies, and the likes. It becomes crucial for them to manage their image professionally. They are constantly in the public eyes and everything that they do on and off the field becomes news.
  • Even the accomplished sportspersons need to project a good image in public and in professional circles. They have to travel nationally as well as internationally; so they need to be well-versed with international protocol of conduct. Their etiquette and behavior is now of prime importance. They should be careful about how they present themselves when they represent our country, how they speak and behave.

Thus at every stage in their career, they need to project an image consciously which will help them to appear competent, trustworthy, successful and humble. They should be well-versed with social etiquette, making statements in public, giving interviews, and appearing at public events.

Celebrity and Image Management boosts the career of sportspersons and helps them create more value for themselves by creating their Personal Brand.

Your personal brand speaks volumes about you. In today’s competitive world, you need to talk about your credentials but in a subtle way. You have to market yourself to the potential partners, customers, employers, and all the other people who have a say in determining your success. …….. “What does your personal brand speak about you?”

There are some sportspersons that have consciously worked on their image. Some noteworthy examples are David Beckham, Maria Sharapova and Sachin Tendulkar. They are all well - groomed and exceptionally dressed to begin with; and have a pleasant personality.

Your Image can work For you or Against you.

You will rarely find Sachin Tendulkar caught in a controversy, or on a quarrel with the media or having an inappropriate behavior. On the other hand, some if his contemporaries may not have been able to project a refined and classy image and have burnt their chances of success in the cricketing career.

Do Sports Coaches need Image Management?

Sports coaches have the responsibility of grooming and building young talent as well as keeping the accomplished sportspersons on track and keeping them motivated. What better way exists then, than grooming the sports coaches on managing their own image? They are anyways going to be competent in their technical skills and coaching abilities. But that is not enough; they have to look agile while coaching, manage the players’ issues on and off the field, and guide them to maximize their potential. They will be able to bring out the best in the sportspersons.

The Image Transformation of Sportspersons

Transforming the Image of a sportsperson involves changing him one step at a time. It is an ongoing process of continuous daily improvement over a period of time. It may take 6 months, 1 year or 10 years for him to achieve the personal mastery which is true even for any other field.

  • We start off by evaluating the current image of the sportspersons. What are his strengths and weaknesses? What are his aspirations and goals? How does he see himself?
  • The next step is to find out the perception about the sportsperson in his colleagues, seniors, coaches, media, sporting authorities and the public. The perception is what determines your success. Is your image working for you or against you? Is it helping you in accomplishing your goals?
  • Then we carefully craft his new image. We give the sportsperson an image that works for him, is consistent with his goals and what he stands for. It should give him enormous confidence to go out there and perform at his best. He will be much more relaxed in his public appearances and while dealing with authorities at national and international level.
  • He should be comfortable with international etiquette, travel etiquette, dining etiquette and must project a confident body language.

How does the Image Coach craft the New Image for the Sportsperson?

  • The image coach will motivate and transform the person to achieve greater results by pushing them and challenging their limits. The image coach’s primary responsibility is to simplify the process of excellence! The image coach will first understand the strengths and weaknesses of the person and understand the potential. After that it is a life-long quest for improvement and excellence.
  • The ‘Sports Coach’ will chalk out the daily schedule, the master training plan, daily rituals, and the performance indices to measure the slow and steady improvements. The Image Coach’s work is no different. The coach makes the hard work easy for you by applying the concepts in practical life and transforms the person effectively.
  • It increases the confidence of the person they are coaching and hence help them to achieve more success.

This is the way the image coach works on the sportsperson’s persona and craft a new image for him.

Thus we saw that in order to get more and more opportunities and become successful in the sporting career, image management becomes necessary. Enhancing your personal brand maximizes your potential and helps you in achieving your goals.

Why Image Management and Career Management go hand in hand?

There are many who want to work on their image and achieve success in any field, in academics, professional life, or need someone to manage their professional career in sports or any other field. It helps tremendously to have a coach who helps you unleash your true potential.

Similarly, if you are a budding or accomplished sportsperson, the backing and consulting given by a professional company to manage your career can be the crucial step that you may have to take to break the glass ceiling to go to the next level in your career.

I would love to hear your views, opinions on my thoughts and what I write in the series on this topic. You may connect with me on LinkedIn: or write to me at to discuss your career goals and personal or professional image transformation.

Gauri Deshpande is an entrepreneur, Image coach, blogger, motivational speaker, and a sports and fitness enthusiast.

This article was originally published on LinkedIn